A basic staple, the T-shirt is far from basic. When reinventing your closet, there are 10 types of T-shirts that are essential for maintaining a good sense of style. A diversified closet helps you look your best wherever you go.
For example, if you are working in the office, then it’s essential to have an office shirt. For those long-awaited weekends, it feels nice to let loose with a breezy short-sleeved T-shirt for the summer or warm flannel for the winter. And for every occasion in-between, multitask by finding shirts that can be dressed up or down.
"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it." — Edith Head.
The following T-shirts will help you look your best for any and all events. Familiarize yourself with their fits, fabrics, and textures, and learn how to pair them with favorite pieces you already have.
Related: T-shirts to wear with jeans
This collared, short-sleeved shirt is comfortable and light—perfect for the hot summer season. The open collar lets you breathe easily, allowing you to feel a nice, light breeze when you’re exposed to harsh sunlight. Not only functional, the Cuban shirt is stylishly detailed with a straight hem and button-up front. This boxy fit is well-suited for walks on the beach, packed events, or simply lounging, these shirts are a must-have for every guy.
According to personal stylist Daniel Johnson, the Cuban sleeve shirt needs to be fitted properly to avoid looking like a pajama top. The key focus should be the sleeves. When they’re too baggy, they give an unpolished and slouchy look—not ideal for a date. The perfect fit of the Cuban shirt looks simple and leisurely, yet refined.
With professional events and meetings with important clients, looking your best helps you to perform at your best. The perfect dress shirt compliments a well-tailored suit, and pairs well with other formal pieces.
A classic dress shirt is made from pique fabric, which has a strong ability to hold starch and avoid becoming stiff. There’s also a bib, where the fabric has a cutaway or pointed collar with double cuffs for the cufflinks.
Want to look fashionable? Check out our classic t-shirt collection here.
Chambray has a similar look and feel to denim, but with a lighter fabric for the twill weave. Because of its thin material, it makes an excellent option for anyone searching for a toned-down denim look.
This type of shirt is versatile, and pairs well with different types of pants. Its wardrobe flexibility makes it a staple piece. The number one rule for chambray is to avoid matching fabrics. Chambray with similarly-colored jeans can appear drab or not thought out.
According to Sarah Gilfillan, the founder of men’s styling service Sartoria Lab, chambray with chinos or with a light-toned suit dresses down a more formal look.
Sometimes, Mother Nature can be confusing when deciding what to wear. The weather might be too warm for a coat, but too cold for a t-shirt.
Luckily, there's the overshirt, where its beauty lies within its multi-functionality. It can be the perfect light jacket or layer for colder days, allowing you to have two outfits in one.
A dark blue overshirt complements a white t-shirt by adding color contrast. With a raw denim outfit and laced-up boots, an overshirt puts the finishing touches on an outfit ready for a party.
If you ever watch Home Improvement, then you know that Tim’s assistant Al Borlin is always sporting his flannel shirt.
Flannel shirts are sturdy attire built to last for repairmen, woodchoppers, and other hard workers. They have entered the stye world too, perfect for relaxing with a latte in mid-December. This popular style is constructed with thick, yet soft fabric that provides maximal warmth and comfort during the cold season.
The flannel shirt can be worn open and over a T-shirt, or simply buttoned up. It works as an outerwear piece without excessive bulk. This type of shirt goes very well with denim jeans with a pair of hardy boots.
It gives both style and strength, and you’ll be ready to face the elements.
If you work in an office setting, you’re looking for a piece that’s comfortable and professional at the same time. The best piece is an office shirt. It gives you that smooth, formal appearance, especially if it’s made of two-fold poplin cotton. The wheels, oxford, and herringbone texture provides a casual and fashionable look without a tie.
If you want a plain and serious business look, look for a white or blue gleaming high-quality shirt with a tie.If you want versatility, then a light blue or pink color is a solid choice. Some retailers offer anti-wrinkle fabric that is both flexible and sturdy, adding function to fashion. A white-colored shirt can help you stand out for all the right reasons.
The classic short-sleeve shirt is an all-time classic. It’s perfect by itself for the summer, and also great for wearing as an underlayer in the cold seasons. The casual T-shirt style is versatile and practical. It has become a phenomenal summer trend with tropical prints, pastel colors, vertical stripes, and geometric patterns.
A short sleeve shirt matches with shorts, chinos or linen and lighter denim trousers. It’s best to wear them casually. For the perfect fit, make sure that the sleeves are not higher than the biceps.
One of the most common mistakes that people make is wearing a T-shirt with a suit. T-shirts with a suit or a tuxedo may appear unprofessional or mismatched. It’s mainly for relaxing during the summer season.
Want a classic short-sleeve shirt? Check out our short-sleeve shirt collection here.
Some people say that denim shirts are a fashion faux pas, but don’t be so quick to judge. Worn correctly, denim shirts add major masculine points to your status with a sense of flair.
It can provide a casual edge when worn with an unstructured blazer. If you feel brave and want to take a risk, you can wear it with a full suit. If you have a Canadian tuxedo, a denim shirt can add some texture to your outfit.
According to Danny Hutchinson, the CEO of Rivet and Hide, denim can make an excellent addition to your closet, but low-quality denim can ruin your style. You should focus on wearing a crisp, new denim shirt with faded raw denim jeans or vice versa. This creates a look with subtle contrasts in texture.
Want to look great in denim? Check out our classic t-shirt collection that looks great with denim here.
The wrong type of shirt during the summer season can leave you hot and soaked in sweat. You definitely do not want to be that guy in a close elevator where everyone can smell and taste the salt.
The light and airy feel of a good linen shirt helps reduce sweat and odor. The high-quality material provides a breathable functionality to ensure that your body has enough ventilation to keep itself cool during the hot season.
This exquisite fit goes very well with jeans or chinos for a laid-back summer look. You can roll up the sleeves and wear it casually with shorts. Linen shirts in white or blue create a timeless look.
The Oxford button-down shirt is a classic that has been worn for over 120 years. It has a thick fabric material compared to other types of shirts. Its simplicity and sturdiness add to a classy and casual look.
The button-down collar and hanger loop are common design traits. This timeless classic serves as the building block for Men’s fashion. Its versatility makes it a classic piece in any wardrobe.
This style does wonders with jeans, chinos, or corduroys, but can clash with suits. The casual style contrasts poorly with tailored-made formalwear. The button-down collar shirt works wonders with the blue Oxford cotton and button cuffs.
How to get the perfect fit
Even if your shirt is made by the fashion God of Tuscany himself, it will still look horribly wrong if it does not fit you properly. This is why correct dimensions are vital to looking and feeling good. As important as the type of shirt is the amount of care you put into purchasing the right size.
"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." —Rachel Zoe
Here’s what to look for when trying to find the perfect fit.
On a long-sleeved shirt, sleeves should end where your wrist meets your hand to avoid looking baggy. They should not be any less shorter, since they might move upward every time you move your arms.
If you have a gaping collar, it means that the shirt is too big for you. If your face is turning blue and you’re having trouble swallowing or breathing, then you might have to increase the size of your shirt collar.
Here’s one trick to get it just right. The neck of your shirt should be approximately a finger width of space when fully fastened.
A well-fitted shirt should create an illusion of a masculine frame with the shoulders of the Greek god. If you want your shoulders to appear wider, then the sleeve of the shirt should extend to the humeral head.
The most common mistakes that people make is buying a fit that’s too tight. A constricted fit is hard to button, restricting movement and making you appear a bit awkward. The chest area should feel comfortable and provide you with a full range of motion for your arms.
Casual shirts are designed to be left untucked, so the fabric should generally meet the hips. Occasionally, some long casual shirts may be a bit longer for a more styled look. However, formal shirts should reach to the bottom of the backside to avoid getting untucked.
Fashion faux pas
Even if you have the perfect wardrobe, matching pieces poorly can be your downfall. The right apparel only looks good when styled with care.
Here are the common mistakes that men make with their shirts.
Shirt collars outside the jacket
Unless you’re a high speed motorcyclist, this isn’t the best look. Do yourself a huge favor and buy shirts with collars that stay inside the jacket. Anybody with the collars visible outside gives a dead giveaway that they lack an eye for detail.
Heavy printed shirts
T-shirts with excessive or loud prints on the front went out of style ages ago. They are reserved for distant relatives who are scrambling to buy you a birthday present and for football players who want to start a fashion label.
High waist jeans
There was a point in time where men have taken it upon themselves to wear high waisted jeans to accentuate their hips. If you do that with your shirt tucked, you could be mistaken for Napoleon dynamite or Urkel, and end up shoved inside your locker.
Take home message
Reinventing your closet does not have to be a chore. It can be a chance to treat yourself to great new pieces that help bring out the style of your favorite old clothes. With your newly learned history and style tips on must-have shirts in your wardrobe, you understand how a well-curated closet is a convenience for you.
If you are going to a professional event, then a dress shirt is something that you should consider. If you are enjoying the summer season, then the linen shirt or Cuban collared short-sleeve shirt works for style and comfort.
Whatever the occasion is, a closet filled with at least one of each shirt can enhance your life. Keep in mind that even with all the quality attires in your room, ill-fitting clothes are only as good as no clothes.
The tips and tricks that we provide can help you find the perfect fit that matched with your body structure and style.